Ex-Afghan king's return delayed
ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Afghanistan's former king will be leaving Rome to return to his homeland later than planned, the Italian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
Mohammad Zaher Shah had planned to leave Italy Monday to head a Loya Jirga -- a grand assembly -- for an 18-month period, starting in mid-June. Instead, he will be returning to Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, sometime in April, the Ministry said.
The ministry said the trip was delayed for organisational reasons and did not elaborate. Dr. Zalmai Rassul, Afghanistan's interim minister for civil aviation, confirmed the change in Shah's travel plans. No new arrival date was given.
The Loya Jirga, which will replace the interim government headed by Chairman Hamid Karzai, will decide on the shape of a new government for Afghanistan.
There have been concerns in Afghanistan over how best to protect the 88-year-old former king, who was deposed in 1973, and his family.
The former king has said he plans to spend the rest of his life in his own county and at the service of his people.
Shah was deposed while on a trip to Italy when his brother-in-law, Mohammad Daud Khan, proclaimed Afghanistan a republic and himself president.
During his time as king of Afghanistan, Shah reasserted the authority of the central government. He has been living in Rome for most of the past 29 years.
Former king urges Afghan peacekeeping boost
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